From Fad to Foundation: Jay Z First Rapper Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame
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Jay Z becomes the first rapper in history to make his way to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, alongside other mainstream artists Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Chicago’s Robert Lamm, James Pankom, Peter Cetera, and Max Martin. The fad of ‘rapping” is here to stay.
After he was made aware of his victory, he tweeted “By the way, this is a win for US. I remember when rap was said to be a fad. We are now alongside some of the greatest writers in history,” a true statement as some of the previous Hall of Fame members include Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, and other musical legends of the 20th and 21st century.
Jay Z’s victory represents a huge turning point in way the general public and “high-brow” musical critics alike view rap as a genre. As Jay Z himself said, it is no longer a “fad,” but now a form of music accepted as on par with various other more classical genres.
Individually, this victory displays Jay Z’s impressive musical talents across the span of his twenty-one year career. The title reflects his tremendous achievements in musical awards, including receiving 21 Grammy’s, the sale of over 100 million albums, and the current solo artist with the the most #1 albums on the charts. However, his impact is not limited to just the musical sphere, which pushed him in the lead beyond talented rappers such Eminem or Nas.
Describing Jay Z’s impact on culture as a whole, Nile Rogers, when announcing the inductees for this year’s Hall of Fame members, said “He has changed the way that we listen to music, he’s changed the way that we’ve had fun, he’s changed the way that we cry.” His songs and lyrics have developed into popular phrases and hashtags, such as “World Full of 99 Problems” and “Hard Knock Life.”
Jay Z’s permanent spot in the prestigious Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inspires the rap community to strive for the same meritorious recognition, and Jay Z capitalized on that fact, releasing various tweets and an original playlist on TIDAL to celebrate the victory and challenging his fellow artists to the same standard.
The Hall of Fame President Linda Moran said “I feel very proud of the Nominating Committee to bite the bullet and to include a rapper on the ballot and even prouder of our membership who voted to induct Jay Z. It is history-making for us, and our members obviously have open minds in accepting and celebrating all genres of songwriting.” Jay Z’s “song craft and musical performance [are] at the very highest level.” National and international rap fans can more than likely look forward to a surge in high quality music in the genre as its artists are inspired to rise. The fad has become a foundation for greatness.